Why Baltimore Is Important To Your Ministry & Your Faith.

It started at 6 a.m. I was avoiding my day, and told myself I could scroll through Facebook and Twitter for 9 minutes, until my alarm went off again. Nine minutes turned into twenty as I went from story to story, opinion to opinion, and tweet to tweet about the horrific happenings in Baltimore. It wasn’t simply the reports that made my stomach turn, but I found myself holding my breath and outright angry at people’s perspectives–more precisely those of the Y Generation (people born between early 80’s &  the year 2000.

All day my thoughts simmered as my frustration slowly turned into anger. I knew I needed to write it out, because, that’s what I do. But my ideas were scattered, and the queen knows we don’t need to add another already spoken opinion, except to say this.

Your ministry is important. 

What you do every week when you serve kids or teenagers, or the parents raising kids and teenagers, is the absolute most important thing you can do for our culture, for our community, for our future. No matter the race, ethnicity, social status of where your church is or where you outreach, your calling and obedience to that call is what will begin to spread the only message that can actually redeem us from these situations.

I conversed with myself wondering if we are surrounded by one of the most ignorant generations ever. And I think, no, we are not. Riots aren’t new… lack of understanding, education and empathy…lack of peace…have destroyed corners of our country for centuries. What is different, however, is how wide and quickly anger and hatred is spread. And how people accept all they see at face value. That fire of negative spreads, and we can only change it by quenching it with love, true love.

In order for our world to change, we who have been called must stand in the gap with prayer in fasting. We must pour into teaching love more than creating games. We must grieve over the possibility that the children and teens we teach may never know experience true justice or peace. For the sake of the next generation, we must stand firm in truth, and teach Jesus.

The President is not the answer. 

The Mayor is not the answer. 

Donald Trump is not the answer. 

Some of these people could help provide temporary solutions, but what we see…the looting, the burning, the cursing, the hatred… is not because America had slaves, or really even that a community has been neglected with no government funding….what we see is a heart issue. A heart issue in people who are crying out for answers, who are alone and hurting, who feel purposeless and disconnected, who have been abandoned and need to be redeemed. The black, the white, the poor, the police, the leaders, All of them, as chaotic in their souls as they are creating in the streets.

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We have such a privilege to be able to speak into these broken hearts before they are so shattered all they see is hate. Our purpose is to show the world that there is absolutely, at the end of the day, after all the injustice, a better way. Our purpose  is to speak into the heart of that Police Officer who abuses his power, or the government officials who pad their pockets at the expense of the poverty stricken, or the child who is lost, or the store owner who is victimized, or the mother who is addicted, or the father who is bitter…they are in your church, in your pews, drinking your coffee, shaking your hand. In your hallways, your workplaces, your classrooms.

You living out your faith is important. Wherever you are, whoever you are. If you have a relationship with Jesus, now, now, now is the time. 

The power to raise the dead is in us. We are commissioned. We have our banner, we must wave it high. It is not just unity, or love, or peace. Those are good things. But we have the mystery, the key, they secret. We have the answer.  We have Jesus. Sharing that matters! Never give up. Let the hatred you see not bring fear or discouragement, but rather a charge to press on and press into the only one who can save us.

Jesus.

LG|LP

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How To Build Relationship with Kids to Change the Faith of Families.

I live in a large, interconnected neighborhood. In order to save money on school bus service, schools tend to be plopped down right in the middle or our community. At the end of the day bell, the streets are flooded with kids. First elementary school, then half an hour later the middle-schoolers.

Tons of kids, even more families, just waiting for us–the church.

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That’s all I saw that day, a bunch of teenagers who needed Jesus. I wondered how many of them went to church. I wondered how many of these kids who went to church ever invited other kids. I thought of how Christians are pulling their kids out of schools, pulling Jesus out of schools, and I was saddened at the thought. (But that’s a post for another time.)

When  I lived in Florida, one day I drove into our gated community at the same time the bus was dropping kids off. I counted them. Fifteen. There were 15 kids, and I knew their stories. I could have invited them to church, but they wouldn’t have come. Instead, I brought church to them. The first week I ordered pizza, twelve kids showed up to eat the free food and hear about Jesus. The next week we grew, and the next and the next. There were nights I had 40 kids piled on top of each other in my living room, just dying to hear, dying for community, dying for connection.

I find that kids, including teens are willing to take responsibility for their own faith apart from their parents. We need to find ways to connect with kids even if parents aren’t willing to come to church. In fact, we can change the entire trajectory of faith in Jesus in families through kids and their faith. It isn’t going to happen with a single event, or with flyers on doorknobs. People need real connection, real relationship and that takes time.

Here are some ways to minister to families through kids:

1. SCHOOL INVOLVEMENT: whether you are in PTA, or just show up to a class party, getting to know kids and begin building friendship with them is a great start.

2. OUTSIDE TIME: When you see a group of kids outside, or you have a park near your house, get off your couch and go play some basketball.  One of the things I try and do as much as possible is walk to pick up my 4th grader. I talk to his classmates, give fist bumps and high fives. Sometimes I even end up with groups of kids around me as we walk and talk together. Not only am I getting to know them,  most of these kids are going home alone and I can offer a sense of security for their walk home.

3. GAMES: Go to local highschool or middle school games and get to know kids names and start conversations with parents.

4. BLOCK PARTY: throw a block party with hot dogs and juice boxes in your front yard. Have a few games out or a football. It’s a great way to get to know the kids in your hood.

And I wish I didn’t have to say this, but have some boundaries when hanging out with kids. Don’t friend them on Facebook, or ever be alone with any of them. As you begin to build friendships, make sure other kids and adults are around as you spend time with them.

The reality is, not every child or family will come to church with just an invite, but we can always bring Jesus to them, through our kindness and acts of love, and showing them how much we care.

What are some ways you have or you can start building relationships with kids in your neighborhood? Comment and  share your ideas. 

And LIKE my FACEBOOK PAGE somewhere over there —-> for daily updates, encouragement and crazy talk!

LG|LP

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The Harvest IS Plentiful… You Got This!

 

Move God’s love.  You don’t need to fly across the world to make a difference. People right here, in your country, your state, your city, your hood need love and prayer and someone to really see them.

 

Looking forward to to hearing your stories on MONDAY about how God used YOU –yes YOU– to love someone this weekend!

 

Read this fantastic post by a fellow blogger…be inspired! Do something with your life!!!

The Harvest IS Plentiful

 

LG | LP

Tiff

How To Not Be Like Your Parents

“You look just like your mother!”

“The two of you are just a couple of bookends.”

“You and your mom even sound so much alike.”

Every corner I have turned, I have stumbled upon someone who is shocked at the uncanny resemblance I have to my mom. We look the same, although I am much taller. My eyes are blue, and hers green. But we have similar mannerisms, and often say the same phrases at the exact same moment. My brother said once during high school that being in our house is like living with two of the exact same people, who speak in stereo.

Then there is this guy.

Zak ebrahaim

When his uncle uttered the words, “Like father, like son,” an entirely different curse was spoken into existence. But he took a stand, and decided to NOT be like his father. It will take ten whole minutes of your life, but take a watch:

Zak Ebrahim is the author of the book The Terrorist’s Son. He grew up in Pittsburgh with a school teacher mom and an Islamic extremist father who was on of the men responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. A National Youth Convention, Busch Gardens and Jon Stewart challenged Zak to change his worldview. Although he grew up in a house of hatred, Zak has committed to living and spreading the message of peace. Zak has professed that he is not his father.

Even though we may look, sound and sometimes even act like our parents, we have the power to say no to carrying on any destructive habits they may have inadvertently passed on to us. Parents aren’t out to pass on their junk. In fact, most of them spend their entire lives trying to protect us from the very things that negatively affected them. But here is a TRUTH: Curses are a part of our history, whether we like it or not. VICTORY: We can choose what we do with that.

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. now choose life, so that you adn your children may life and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deut 30:19-20

No matter how fantastic your mom is or how horrible our father is, make a choice to let go of anything that chains your heart, digs up the hurt from your childhood, or allows you to soak in unforgiveness. Like Zak who was doomed for a life of violence and instead chose peace, you have permission to not be like your parent. You can be a curse breaker. Choose life, choose blessing…there is freedom awaiting for you, and that freedom will allow you to love… and my friend, love is what it is all about!

Who do you look more like, your mom or your dad? Comment and share with me your story of breaking curses!

LG | LP

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I Need Your Help

I want to start a movement.

I want you to help me.

It's simple, really. But at the same time it is so against what the world has, what the world offers.

It won't take much, just a little switch in thinking on our parts. A different window in which to gaze at the world.

I like the idea that we control our thoughts, and not the other way around. It's true, ya know?

All we have to do is believe in what we are called to do, and then act on our beliefs.

Jesus said to love God with everything.

Jesus said to love others.

So that's the movement I want us to start.

I want us to move God's love into the lives of anyone and everyone within our reach.

How? You ask.

By holding open doors.

By putting your phone away when you are checking out at the grocery store and talking to your cashier. Ask him how his day is going. Tell her that you like her earrings.

Smile at people.

Say thiank you.

Let people ahead of you in traffic, and wave a friendly hello.

Act with love.

Stop acting with impatience, selfishness and discontent.

Move God's love.

To anyone who crosses your path.

We are starting it. And we are starting it now. We are doing it together… and we are going to share our stories about how commiting to moving God's love makes a difference, not just in other's lives, but in ours.

Are you in? Comment and join the movement!

LG|LP